Confessing ones sins to another takes an act of humility. It is an extremely humbling act to sit in the presence of another human being and confess all of ones faults and shortcomings, but it through this act of humility that God prepares one to receive his Son. Pope Benedict has stated numerous times that God enters into one who is heart is humble.
Often times we get hung up on the act of confession and not what is given during the sacrament. Our pride gets in the way, we do not desire to humble ourselves before God and a priest and confess all the wrongs we have done. But it through this act that God pours out His mercy and love upon us. To hear the words that your sins are absolved and forgiven is an incredibly powerful statement.
Preparing for a confession is similar to a runner preparing for a race. If the runner focuses only the race and not the finish it would be doubtful the runner would ever toe the starting line. During the race the runner puts themselves through all sort of physical and mental discomfort in order to achieve the finish line. Many times during the race they want to quit, just stop running no one will know after all it is just some little small town race, but for some reason they keep going they keep putting one foot in front of the other despite the burning lungs, legs, arms. They do this to achieve the glory of the finish line. The finish line is the end of race and once the line is crossed the pain eases up legs stop burning, but once the line is crossed the person is forever changed. They have accomplished something, pushed themselves to achieve that finish.
Confession works in much the same way. We can either get hung up on the act of confessing or we can focus on the forgiveness and grace given at the end. If we focus on the act of confessing and forget about the forgiveness it is easy to not want to go. In those time were we are focusing on the act, think of the runner. Think not of the act, but rather the grace and forgiveness given. Think of the finish line and you will start the race.
Once the finish line has been reached, the race is not over. The runner now has to enter into the recovery phase of training. Time needs to pass to allow the body to fully recover from the toll taken by the race. Just as the runner needs a recovery, the sinner needs to make amends for committing the sins. Time needs to pass and penance needs to be performed in order for the soul to heal from the sins committed. There are lasting repercussions from sins, but let those repercussion serve as a reminder of what you did and what you received from God. Just as a set of sore legs allows a runner to remember the race days later, the lasting repercussions of sins allow the sinner the opportunity to remember the grace of forgiveness given by God at confession.
Confession like racing is a humbling act. Both require a hard examination of your life. Racing forces you to publicly show what your training has given you. Days missed will show and you will not be able to achieve the goal you want. It is during a race you are forced to realize your shortcomings as a runner. Confession acts in much the same mannor. It will show you all of the shortcomings in your life, were you have failed God and offended Him. The beautiful part of confession is that no matter what you have done God will forgive you and still give you His mercy. All you have to do is ask.
Do not let the act of confession prevent you from obtaining the forgiveness offered by God. Focus on this forgiveness and the pain/fear presented by the act will subside. Enter the confessional as humbly and as honestly as you can and God will bestow upon you an unbelievable amount of mercy. For God enters into the man with a humble heart and it is through the Sacrament of Reconciliation that we shed the weight of our sins and are filled with a deeper desire and love of God. Enter into the confessional, toe that starting line, and one day, by the grace of God you will find yourself crossing the finish line surrounded and filled with the love God has to offer.